New Bullet Train to Connect Tokyo to Hokkaido

May 18, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. inaugurate / ɪnˈɔ gyəˌreɪt / (v.) – to formally announce the opening of something for public use
Example: The new hospital was inaugurated a month after its completion.

2. bound / baʊnd / (adj.) – headed towards a place or a direction
Example: The train is bound for Hokkaido.

3. route /rut, raʊt/ (n.) – the usual way followed when traveling from one place to another
Example: The route of the train is from Tokyo to Hokkaido.

4. gateway / ˈgeɪtˌweɪ / (n.) – the place that serves as the entrance to a certain region
Example: Manila is one of the most common gateways to the northern regions of the Philippines.

5. impressive / ɪmˈprɛs ɪv / (adj.) – able to get attention and admiration from people
Example: The newly opened park is very impressive.


Read the text below.
Japan inaugurated a new high-speed train that will connect Tokyo to the island of Hokkaido.

The Hokkaido Shinkansen, the first bullet train to connect Japan’s capital to the country’s northernmost island, was launched on March 26. More than 2,500 people attended the said   inauguration. A month prior to the new train’s launching, tickets bound for Tokyo sold out in only 25 seconds, while those bound for Hokkaido sold out in 30 seconds.

The new train can travel from Tokyo to Hokkaido in just over four hours. However, the current route of the train is only until Hakodate, the city located at the southernmost part of Hokkaido that serves as the gateway to the island.

An extension of the Hokkaido Shinkansen’s rail until Sapporo, Hokkaido’s capital and Japan’s fifth largest city, is expected to be completed by 2035. Upon completion, it would reduce travel time to Sapporo to only five hours from the current travel time by train of around 10 hours.

Aside from its remarkable speed, the Hokkaido Shinkansen also boasts impressive amenities. The 731-seater train features various facilities that ensure the comfort of its passengers, including a spacious restroom and a women-only powder room. It also reserves   two of its 10 cabins for first-class passengers.

Osami Shimada, president of the Hokkaido Railway, said in an interview that the company worked hard to make the bullet trains safe. He added that the company hopes to attract more users, both local and foreign, with the Hokkaido Shinkansen.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you like to try traveling using the Hokkaido Shinkansen? Why or why not?
·         What do you think would be the effect of the new Shinkansen on Hokkaido?

Discussion B

·         What are the most important aspects of a public transportation vehicle?
·         What other modes of public transportation would you like to be available in your community? Why?

May 18, 2016